Vintage Tastings (click to search again)

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Red

1969 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Red Rhone Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
Thomas blessed us with a rare 1969 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape. As I have recently iterated, I love old Beaucastels. They are amongst my favorite, old wines and an incredible value relative to similarly old, great Bordeaux and Burgundy. This ’69 was no exception. It was full and regal in the nose, emitting black fruits, wet stones and pinches of game, tar and pepper. It was long in the mouth, tasty and tender despite a full finish marked by earth and cement flavors. It was another awesome, old Beaucastel (94). 94 points
Red

1989 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin

Red Rhone Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
The auction was on Saturday, and it was a tremendous sale, but you all know about that already. I always like to enjoy a drink or six at an auction, so I brought with me a glorious magnum of 1989 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage a Jacques Perrin. I haven’t had this wine in a while, and it has always left the impression on me as one of the greatest Rhone wines ever, always exceeding the equally-regarded 1990. While this wine has always been massive, and it was still big, there was a decadent core of fruit showing in this magnum that was delicious and open. There were black and purple fruits, spice, pepper, earth and that Rhone gamy quality all combining for a fantastic experience. Chunky and long, this was again special stuff and starting to shed some of its thick skin (97M). 97M points
White

2002 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc

White Rhone Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
A magnum of 2002 Chave Hermitage Blancstood up nicely to the Sauzet, even though it was from a vintage not held in high regard. If real estate is all about location, location, location then wine is all about producer, producer, producer. A great producer will make quality wines every year no matter what the conditions, and this Chave proved it. The Chave had lots of gamy fruit and glue in its nose. The palate was long and had great spine with lots of honey and wax flavors. Thanks, Dave (93M). 93M points
Red

1947 Château Cheval Blanc

St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
Unfortunately, a Jean Nony Negociant bottling of 1947 Cheval Blanc was corked (DQ). DQ points
Red

1990 Château Cheval Blanc

St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
There was one more Bordeaux on this starry night, a 1990 Cheval Blanc, whose nose was full of meaty, wintry red fruits and hints of gingerbread. There is always this hint of game and wild grass to the ’90 Cheval, and I say that in a positive way. The palate was classic all the way around, rich and red, tasty yet still somewhat shy and reserved. This was a meaty, long and regal wine that will be enjoyable for decades to come (96). 96 points
Red

1998 Jean-Jacques Confuron Romanée St. Vivant

Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru Pinot Noir more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
The biggest surprise on the night was a 1998 J.J. Confuron Romanee St. Vivant. Leather and cedar were the first things I noticed, with reticent black fruits behind. It had what I call nice ‘whiff’ to it with its hints of allspice and all-fruit, for that matter. I really liked its taut style, and the palate was singing, impressing me with its leathery, taut 1998 side, and this was already open for two hours! It was still tense, with hints of hilltop garden, and it possessed classic qualities despite Confuron being a producer that is sometimes considered to be on the New World side of the wheel. I think I will be drinking more 1998s in the coming year; I think it is time to revisit this underrated vintage (93). 93 points
Red

1989 Château La Conseillante

Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (8/29/2007)
The 1989 La Conseillante was similar in style but more brutish, but not in a bad way, more in a ‘watch out or it might play dirty’ way. It managed to rein all that in. Its opulent Pomerol fruit aromas seeped out of the glass. There was some caraway to go with its date and mineral flavors, along with vanilla, game and purple fruit. Opulent and more kinky than the 1990, the ’89 La Conseillante was still surely outstanding 95 points
Red

1990 Château La Conseillante

Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (8/29/2007)
Another pair of ’89 and ‘90s were next, this time being La Conseillante. The 1990 La Conseillante had a deep, intense nose, oh so Pomerol with its cocoa, game, plum, chocolate, dates and coconut aromas. Its t ‘n a was rock solid, and its ‘plenty of fruit’ was admired. Similar exotic flavors graced its extraordinary palate. ‘Game, game and more game,’ I wrote. In the end, the 1990 had more balance and depth than the 1989, a touch more classic, but it was a very fine hair to split 96 points
Red

2003 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche

Clos de la Roche Grand Cru Pinot Noir more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
I was impressed, and equally so by the 2003 Dujac. I must confess that I have not had too many 2003 Burgundy recently as I don’t drink that much ‘serious’ young wine, and I have also perhaps been a bit brainwashed by a few Burgundy connoisseurs that this is not a pure or classic vintage in Burgundy due to the excessive, record-breaking heat of 2003. Well, this Dujac lit my mouth up. It was rich and concentrated and still full of acidity and length, making my lips smack and my tongue lick the roof of my mouth. It had sweet fruit, but not what I would call overripe, as the knock can be on ’03. It left me with a yearning to try a bunch more ’03 Burgs in the near future. 95+ points
Red

1959 Château L'Evangile

Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
Desmond noted ‘chocolate’ right away in a 1959 L’Evangile, and Gary found it ‘quite powerful.’ Loewe concurred, calling 1959 ‘more tannic than ’61,’ in general. It was, indeed, quite chocolaty with a hint of garden goodness, along with some faint aromas of cement and pungent interior. The palate was big and a bit of a bruiser with lots of alcohol showing. Its cassis and plum fruit were walking on slate stilts, and a hint of metal/iron ore was there as well. The L’Evangile’s sexy nose was old but fresh, and its acidity was really long in the belly, but there was some squareness in its shoulders. 1959 was never quite the vintage in Pomerol that it was for the rest of Bordeaux, although clearly still way above average (93). 93 points
Red

1989 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Riserva Falletto di Serralunga d'Alba

Nebbiolo more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
I didn’t have much left in me by the time a magnum of 1989 Giacosa Barolo Falleto Riserva came around. Its leather and acidity really stood out at this point, along with its black as night fruit. This was a mouthful of a wine, practically taking my tongue hostage with its sheer strength. Long and zippy, the Giacosa spoke up for Italy admirably on this great night (95+M). 95+M points
Red

2000 Domaine Anne Gros Richebourg

Richebourg Grand Cru Pinot Noir more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
Thomas pulled another cat out of his bag with a 2000 Anne Gros Richebourg. This was another impressive Burg from a year that is not that highly-regarded for its reds. It was another testament to the most important wine lesson I can ever give, which I will say again here: producer, producer, producer. The 2000 was quite rich in the nose, another ‘wow’ wine, very concentrated and beefy with tantalizing black raspberry fruit. It gave an oily impression, and aromas of vitamins, forest and cedar rounded out its nose. The wine was rich and tasty in the mouth with strawberry flavors and a kiss of lemon drop. I think it was James who said that it was ‘more modern but there is still precision and upside here.’ This time he was a point higher than me, but it felt like we were in sync. I get to be Justin lol (94). 94 points
Red

1989 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque

Syrah more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
A 1989 Guigal Cote Rotie La Turque burned rubber in the nose fast and furiously. There was lots of classic, mountainous Rhone fruit with tons of minerals and quartz. The palate was very peppery and also with bacon, earth and garrigue flavors. Victor found its bacon qualities more ‘smoked meat.’ The wine was a bit dry, its only flaw (94). 94 points
Red

1989 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque

Syrah more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (8/29/2007)
We sat down to a pair of La Turques, 1989 and 1990, to be exact. The Rhone had finally made an appearance on my Asian tour, and the 1989 Guigal Cote Rotie La Turque was special stuff. At first, it was very shy and wound, with slick tannins and alcohol, subtle and slinky yet long and elegant. Cracked white pepper, violet and crushed black fruits eased out of its reticent nose slowly but surely. The palate was quite spicy with lots of pepper, cedar and mineral flavors, yet somehow the wine was able to remain soft and caressing. There was impeccable balance, nice spice and enough pitch to make the three tenors go for thirds 96 points
Red

1990 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque

Syrah more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (8/29/2007)
The 1990 Guigal Cote Rotie La Turque was a bit more controversial. At first, I preferred the 1990, I will admit. It was more open, more forward and had more fruit initially. Nonetheless, it was very similar to the ’89, also stylish and sensual, and also possessing the white pepper, the violet and the cassis, but also more yeast. One noted that it was ‘more dusty,’ while another noted its ‘mint.’ There was also more bacon, menthol and flesh, but our host was steadfastly in the 1989 camp, as was one of Hong Kong’s most respected and distinguished merchants. The question was whether this bottle of 1990 was a bit more developed than it should have been, and with oxygen its initial forward qualities started to lose focus in the glass a bit. I still did like its forward, fleshy and gamy style, but the consensus was that this bottle was just a touch off 94 points
Red

1958 Château Haut-Brion

Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
Paul had brought a pet wine of his, the 1958 Haut Brion, a vintage not often seen. This bottle was from the Mahler-Besse cellars, and the nose was certainly classic HB. There was that instant whiff of gravel, although oak started to creep in, in eyebrow raising fashion. The tannins and acidity were still firm in the penetrating nose, but its palate also had that oaky edge. The initial attack in the mouth was nice, but its mid-palate and finish were soft. Its flavors were more oak than anything else, although its oak morphed into cedar a bit. I was wondering if the wine was reconditioned at all, but there was no indication that it was (88). 88 points
Red

1966 Château Haut-Brion

Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
A magnum of 1966 Haut Brion was all about the coffee in the nose. Its palate was smooth and satiny, soft and tender, fully mature and ready to go. While not in the category of the greatest Haut Brions, it is still very good, though probably best to drink up (91M). 91M points
Red

1982 Château Haut-Brion

Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
The1982 Haut Brion that followed had many similar characteristics, but there was much more peanut butter here in a peanut brittle way. This had a tender side to it that the ’89 wasn’t ready to show. It was more forward than the seven years between the two, gamier and readier, although still with a long life ahead of it. The ’82 HB seems to be under-appreciated in the market and is certainly the best value of all the First Growths (95). 95 points
Red

1989 Château Haut-Brion

Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
If there were a Bordeaux that could stand up to the Massetto, a good choice would be the 1989 Haut Brion.It was another ‘wow’ wine; it is always special, indubitably one of the top ten wines made in Bordeaux over the last forty years. Long, elegant yet meaty, it zipped along faster than the speed limit but still seemed like it was moving slowly. It was so sensual, seductive from the first sniff to the last sip, full of carob, caramel, cedar and enough spice for Julia Child’s kitchen cabinet. This is an any place, any time wine. Thank you my friend (99). 99 points
Red

1990 Château Haut-Brion

Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (8/29/2007)
I finally escaped to dinner with a former New York client that retired back to Hong Kong. We went to Yung Kee, a great authentic and traditional Chinese restaurant where you must try the goose! He graciously brought a 1990 Haut Brion. This bottle was decanted for over two hours, as his taste prefers a rounder, softer and gentler style of Bordeaux, and I am sure the same goes for many of his Hong Kong brethren. The wine had a gorgeous and open nose full of cassis fruit, supported by cedar, minerals and tobacco. There were lots of layers and nuances to this complex wine. Tobacco came to the forefront of its aromas, and a baked morning cereal quality emerged. Despite the two hours of decanting, the finish was still spicy and had rock solid t ‘n a. There were lots of tobacco and earth flavors, and its style was long and regal. Stylish, long and with a smoky finish, the ’90 HB was a pleasure to drink in HK. There were also nice mineral flavors to its now satiny finish 95 points
White

1989 Château Haut-Brion Blanc

Pessac-Léognan Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (5/9/2009)
The 1989 Haut Brion Blanc was a spectacular white. Its nose was pungent, full of glue, straw, cat’s pee and a pinch of twisted honeycomb. That Graves minerality reeked out of the glass. The palate was coy at first yet rich, very regal with tons of breed and acidity. This was the best young white Bordeaux that I had ever had. It retained its character throughout the evening and even became more complex, with more of its floral side coming out, along with jasmine tea, marzipan and coconut. It got more and more delicious as it opened with air 96+ points
Red

1989 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle

Syrah more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
A couple of Rhones closed out the red wine portion of our program, beginning with a 1989 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle. Peter found it ‘plastic-y,’ but then said he finds Rhones that way in general. The nose was fabulous, full of sweet, black fruits, garrigue, spice, pepper, game, chocolate, minerals and bread aromas. The palate was rich and hearty, more limited and square than its nose, although there was nice citrus and leather smack to its gamy finish (94+). 94+ points
Red

2001 Château Kefraya Comte De M

Bekaa Valley Red Blend more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (8/29/2007)
After more meetings, naps and catalog, I found myself at Yung Kee again for a casual get together. I told you this place is good! We sampled a 2001 Chateau Kefraya ‘Comte de M,’ Lebanon’s other wine, its first ambassador being the always interesting and tasty Chateau Musar. The Kefraya is a Cab/Syrah blend and had a big, deep nose full of dark black fruits and a leathery, rocky kink. Firm tannins and alcohol were framed by a kiss of modernity. Its flavors had sweet fruit, still on the black side but with cherry twists. Medium-bodied, the wine had good tannin and nice grit. There was some beef to its flavor profile, szechuan perhaps, or that might have been the table next to me! Some bacon from its Syrah emerged, and a touch of olive rounded out this smooth and pleasant wine 90 points
White - Sparkling

1995 Krug Champagne Clos d'Ambonnay

Pinot Noir more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (10/4/2009)
A glass of 1995 Krug Clos d’Ambonnay helped us say goodbye on a high note, although I still find this first vintage to be excellent and not yet outstanding. There was lots of lemony goodness and elegance in this young, taut Champagne. There was a flash of fruit, and while its flavors were great and its finish long, it still needs lots of time to come into its own (94+). 94+ points
White - Sparkling

1990 Krug Champagne Clos du Mesnil

Chardonnay more

Vintage Tastings

, John Kapon
Hong Kong Diaries (5/9/2009)
We closed with the 1990 Krug Clos du Mesnil. If there was a fitting closer, it would be Clos du Mesnil, the vineyard equivalent in Champagne to Romanee Conti. The 1990 was so good, so young, like nails on a chalkboard in its pitch. A hint of oak needed some time to integrate, and the 1990 needs time in general to integrate. Its acidity reminded me of Wolverine, ready to destroy anything in its way. It had lots of flavors of earth, minerals and what I would call tombstone, as this Champagne laid to rest everything else 97 points
  • Reviews: 85 /
  • Wines: 83

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